A strong focus on infrastructure: Plaid Cymru's manifesto

David Morgan

Policy Manager (RICS)

Infrastructure heavy, Plaid Cymru’s overall manifesto for the General Election 2017 is in contrast to the 2016 Assembly document which focused much more directly on "bread and butter" issues that reflected devolution.

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Download and read Plaid Cymru's manifesto

Most notably the document demands significant Welsh Assembly and Welsh Government input on Brexit. As welcome the focus on Infrastructure is, we feel that is it is vital that co-ordination is maintained with the UK Infrastructure Commission under Lord Adonis and the emerging City Deals across Wales and England. With housing, there is relatively little perhaps reflecting their view that this very much a policy area that is now in the province of the Welsh Assembly and Welsh Government. We hope they will continue to give this policy area the priority it deserves.

Perhaps most eye-catchingly, the document calls for an investment worth £7.5 billion in Welsh Infrastructure, which is welcome, along with strong support for Tidal Lagoons in Swansea, Cardiff and Colwyn Bay. The support for the lagoons is part of an emerging political consensus in Wales. However, it will be dependent on a strike price being agreed between the developers and UK Government.

Infrastructure

We welcome Plaid Cymru’s commitment to Infrastructure in Wales. This is a key focus for the Welsh economy and we urge co-operation with the work of the UK Infrastructure Commission and the emerging City Deals across Wales and England. Plaid’s support for the Tidal Lagoon project, both in Swansea and elsewhere, is also good news. In principle, the drive for longer-term infrastructure is to be welcomed; however, we urge Plaid Cymru to co-ordinate their plans and efforts with the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan and the Adonis Commission. This will ensure, wherever possible, that the commissions complement rather than compete for the widest possible benefit. Wales was the only devolved nation to have a spatial plan approach and a return to this strategic approach would be very pleasing.

Specific projects in the 2017 manifesto or action plan included:

  • A Wales-wide transport.
  • Re-opening of the Carmarthen–Aberystwyth railway.
  • Improved valleys line train services.
  • Improvements to the A55 in north Wales.
  • The expansion of the Traws Cymru bus network.
  • A commitment to making ultra-fast broadband available to all of Wales.
  • Rolling out 5G mobile signal nationwide.
  • Double the funding for Visit Wales and cut tourism VAT.
  • Increase energy generation from renewables.
  • Delivering tidal lagoons in Swansea Bay, Cardiff and Colwyn Bay.
  • Creating a Welsh energy company to use profit from Welsh resources to cut the cost of energy for Welsh consumers.

Rural

The main rural focus for Plaid is Brexit. The party promises to fight to ensure EU funding is replaced and that it will fight “unfair” trade deals. The party also advocates reform of the Red Meat Levy. Finally, it also opposes pylon construction in areas of natural beauty and demands the creation of a fuel regulator to address rising fuel costs.

Summary

As expected of the Party of Wales, Plaid Cymru constitutional matters occupy a prominent role in the document, with demands that UK Free Trade Deals be endorsed by the Assembly, along with the devolution of Corporation Tax, Air Passenger Duty and VAT. Elsewhere, aside from pledges on policing and healthcare, the party is also calling for targeted tax cuts for business in Wales, as part of a new UK Regional Policy.

At present, polls indicate a substantial conservative majority after the election, so how much of the party’s proposals can be carried into action remains to be seen. As Wales heads for its third major vote in three years, we stand ready to work with stakeholders across the political spectrum to support the best possible future for the land, property, construction and infrastructure in Wales.

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